Sask. government evicts Indigenous protest camp to make room for Canada Day celebrations

Photo of the Justice for Our Stolen Children CampPhoto of the Justice for Our Stolen Children Camp from the Troy Fleece at the Regina Leader-Post.  

Here’s some background on the camp and five ways to act in solidarity. 

On Monday June 18, the Regina Police tore down the Justice for Our Stolen Children Camp’s tipi and arrested six of the camp’s organizers. The camp had been active on the Saskatchewan Legislature Grounds in Regina for 111 days, and was first set up when Gerald Stanley and Raymond Cormier were acquitted in the Colten Boushie and Tina Fontaine murder trials.

The camp’s organizers vowed to stay until they saw real action to stop the racialized violence in the justice system and of the kidnapping of children by Social Services. 

But at the beginning of June the province served eviction notices, and told the camp's participants they needed to leave to make way for the province’s upcoming Canada Day celebrations.

Six of the camp's organizers were arrested for refusing to leave the camp's tipi on Monday. As supporter Robyn Pitawanakwat told the CBC: "We've just watched the most important people in camp be hauled away. Some of them violently. It symbolizes that we are still the least important thing for government, that to have a Canada celebration without Indigenous poverty in people's faces is more important than to actually deal with Indigenous poverty and Indigenous issues in general."

A legal analysis of the arrests in the Regina Leader Post said the decision, "to arrest and detain protesters at the Justice for Our Stolen Children camp was unfortunate and highly questionable."

The most basic of the camp organizer's demands – like a meeting with key Saskatchewan ministers at the camp to discuss their concerns – have not been met. As Jim Elliott, chairperson for the Regina Chapter in the Council of Canadians stated in a letter to the Regina Leader-Post, “When the Justice for our Stolen Children Camp began, an observant politician would have come out to see what all the fuss was about. Instead, they ignored it, hoping they would go away.”

The camp became an important community hub, with organizers raising awareness of the violence of ongoing Canadian colonialism through pancake breakfasts, round dances, sharing circles, and countless conversations with the public. 

In a Facebook post this morning, the camp’s organizers said, “Greetings and salutations on what could have been DAY 112 of camp #justice4ourstolenchildren. Sad to see the tipi down but it doesn't keep us quiet, it only shows what lengths this government will go to in order ignore something that can affect its profit margin.”

As one of the organizers stated as she was arrested, “We will keep fighting for our children just like every one of you would fight for your child.”

5 ways you can take action:

  • If you’re in Regina, head to the Legislature grounds on June 21st for a Blanket Exercise. Check the camp’s Facebook page for details.
  • You can send donations to the camp via e-transfer to colonialismnomore@gmail.com
  • Write to your local newspaper in support of the camp and its demands.
  • Write to Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe, Deputy Minister of Central Services Richard Murray, Minister of Social Services Paul Merriman, and Minister of Justice Don Morgan in support of the camp and its demands.
  • Follow the Justice for Our Stolen Children Camp’s Facebook page for further updates.